Hopper eyes global air distribution, focusing on mobile channel and Millennials
Hopper's CEO Fred Lalonde thinks that 100% of commerce will happen on the phone and Millennials will be the biggest buyers.
Airfare-monitoring app Hopper has been downloaded 4.5 million times on Apple App Store and Google Play since December.
Usage within the apps has also been speeding up, the Boston-based company says. In a key feature called “watch”, users need to click a button to track price changes on a trip by agreeing to accept push notifications. Consumers have so far tracked nine million trips in this way, Hopper says.
A year ago, Hopper wasn’t selling tickets. It was acting as a metasearch, referring users to other sources to buy. This year it has sold tickets in 130 countries.
The company expects to sell “hundreds of millions of dollars of air” this year. It believes that this rapid business growth makes it the fastest growing mobile travel agency (MTA).
The company thinks that the Millennials which take up 52% of its audience will tend to buy on their phones.
Chief executive Fred Lalonde predicts the whole industry will shift to an overwhelmingly majority of flights being purchased by mobile devices within a much shorter timeframe than is conventionally anticipated.
International flights represent almost two-thirds of the tickets the startup sells. From its user base of cross-border flights, the average annual spend per user is $1,400.
Lalonde believes that dynamically adjusting notifications presage the evolution of Netflix-style recommendations to flight shopping for the online travel category.
“There are two things that are extremely hard to do in online travel. I mean, like Google hard to do. One, is figuring out what to tell a user, and when — without annoying them.
“Two, is the execution of accurate pricing information — meaning how to avoid a bait-and-switch on airfare quotes when airfares keep dynamically changing. It’s awful when the notification says there’s a $200 airfare but when you click through it’s actually $500,” said Lalonde.
“My advice to entrepreneurs is that they should believe that 100% of commerce will happen on the phone and Millennials will be the biggest buyers.”
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